Plenty Newcastle managers in the past have been prepared to play fast and loose with players returning from injury, or with ongoing injury problems.

Alan Pardew the prime one, prepared to risk Newcastle players on numerous occasions, only for them to end up out injured for far longer after gambles taken.

Mikel Merino looked Newcastle’s best player earlier in the season and after returning to the squad after suffering a back injury, fans have been puzzled as to why the Spanish Under 21 star hasn’t featured more.

The past five weeks have seen only one Premier League start, in the 0-0 draw with Brighton, as well as appearing in the less strenuous FA Cup match with League Two Luton.

The midfielder though has now revealed that he still isn’t 100% and remains affected by back problems, though the good news is that he is feeling stronger all the time and expects to be back to full fitness in the coming weeks.

Rafa Benitez is clearly taking no chances and Mikel Merino name checks the United boss for his help, encouragement and advice.

With the United boss hoping to bring in some players in the next week and the first of those, Kenedy, now on Tyneside for his medical, no doubt Rafa Benitez will have in mind the type of team and tactics that is going to be his mainstay in this relegation/survival run-in.

A fully fit Mikel Merino would be a huge help and Rafa’s patience and looking after the midfielder will hopefully be rewarded.

Mikel Merino:

“I have had a lot of injuries during my career but…the back is the worst one I think, because it affects a lot.

“You can’t turn, you can’t sprint, you can’t jump.

“Sometimes it is hard to play with these kind of injuries because you feel like you can do 100% but you are doing 50% and nobody knows it.

“It is hard but you have to carry on – a lot of players are playing with injuries and it’s part of the sport, so I  deal with it.”

“The back injury which I still have a little bit is improving and I feel much better.

“I am almost at 100% physically and feeling good in training – I feel that I’m at a good level.

“I hope that in a few weeks I don’t have any problems and I will be 100%.

Manager, team-mates and staff are always trying to help me, giving advice and encouragement.”

  • ghostrider

    Mitro out with his back. Merino and his back.
    Rafa must be kidney punching them all as they try to push in, in the canteen, eh?

  • TheFatController

    Not only did Pardew play unfit players, he congratulated himself on the policy.

    After beating Man City in the LC, Aarons having played and scored despite the doctor saying he shouldn’t play, Pardew congratulated himself on overruling the doctor and seeing him score early doors.

    Ignoring the quite obvious flaw in his genius as Aarons was subbed before HT.

  • Paul Patterson

    That’s because he’s a MANAGER. Not an egocentric chancer.

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    To be honest he should not be on the bench if not fully fit it’s only common sense.

    • Kneebotherm8

      You’re one of the the ones saying Benitez isn’t playing his best players blah blah blah… haven’t a clue what’s going on behind the scenes…….just like to hear yersel talk……..playing too many football manager games on’t computer…….

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        Never played a computer game in my life they are for geeks as are vintage cars.

        • TheFatController

          And non-vintage? Where do you stand on semi-vintage?

        • glassjawsh-got-banned

          not even solitaire?

    • Damon Horner

      If he can last 30 minutes and influence a game no reason why he can’t be on the bench.

  • John

    Pardew achieved European qualification. Benitez is nowhere near.

    • Steve Smith

      Benitez would too if he had the perfect storm of all the rest of the league underperforming and a team of individuals winning matches with shots from the sideline and dribbles from half way.

      • Paul Patterson

        And two strikers (Ba and Cisse) banging them in for fun and two on form creative midfielders (Ben Arfa and Cabaye).

        • glassjawsh-got-banned

          And they still allowed in 51 goals (which is more than will get by this year). I’m pretty sure Benitez won the champions league that season…

    • joe mac

      he also had the stats to back up the worst p.league manager tag!..take the blinkers off!

    • Paul Patterson

      Actually Mr Carver, this season the top 6 is nailed on, no-one below will get anywhere near. Hardly a fair comparison.

      • Peaky Magpie

        Mr Carver 😂😂😂

    • Guest 2

      Oh my. Look at the players that were bought or loaned for him that one season. Get real, man.
      W 71 D 42 L 73 Win% 38.17
      10/11 12th (half a season)
      11/12 5th
      12/13 16th
      13/14 10th – lost 14 of last 20 games
      14/15 15th
      15/16 18th (half a season)

    • Leazes.

      He still doesn’t know how he did it…. it was largely due to other clubs being in turmoil and Carr having struck lucky on his ‘buy to sell’ for a season.

      • Ram Kishore

        I once read somewhere that Carr recommended really good players like Plan A
        Plan B
        Plan C
        But ended up signing only plan C or B players
        Just a speculation or truth??

    • TheFatController

      But generally, not when Ashley-d?

      Benítez La Liga x 2, CL, Europa League, FA Cup, Italian Cup.


      • John

        Benitez only real achievements are the CL with Liverpool and La Liga with Valencia who he nearly bankrupt. He’s failed at more clubs than he’s succeeded. Pardew could’ve won things had he managed the squads Benitez has. Benitez done well at Valencia then has been handed world beating squads and money ever since, now he has a challenge he’s crying to the press like a girl.

  • S.G.M.

    How long has Pardew been gone? FFs write something worthy.

  • Leazes.

    He hadn’t played for a year in Germany when we bought him…..

    I wonder why we do this to ourselves…. Kenedy as well…. totally out of the running for huge spells…. can we not just buy someone who is match ready and in full working order, it would save a load of problems.

    Go look for yourselves, do a bit of homework….. Ryder wont!…. he’s too busy selling you a crock.

    If you don’t know how to use transfermarkt this is what you do.

    1. Type players name
    2. Scroll down to the blue text saying ‘Complete performance data’ click on it.
    3. At the top of the top of the data is a drop down box for ‘Seaon’
    4. Chose season…. you can go back for years.

    There you go…. it even tells you how many minutes he’s played…. the nature of his injury.

    Start with loanee Kenedy and you’ll see why he’s a loan deal. then have a look at Gameiro…..

    Viva la Rafalution.

    • Paul Patterson

      Yeah, but after you’ve done that you are supposed to put in a decent and respectable bid.
      This regime looks at a player, see’s his proposed value and bids 10m lower and wonders why we can’t sign players. Then when the player moves again two years later he makes a profit for the club that did get him.
      It makes the people that laud Ashley’s financial policy (and Ashley himself) look incredibly stupid.
      Then when it does work (Sissoko/Wijnaldum) only a fraction of the income is spent on replacing them.

      • Leazes.

        ….. its usually players who are near the end of a contract who are picked up on the promise to showcase themselves….

    • Gallowgate Frost

      Transfermarkt isn’t exactly reliable. The last time I checked Perez was worth £8,000,000. I laughed and stopped using it after that

    • hetonmag

      1- Bet Victor pay your taxes
      2- Ryder
      3- Transfermakt
      4- Chronical
      5- Rafalution
      Why don’t you change the record man.

  • ghostrider

    Let’s see what Rafa does with this shower of shi……

    Kenedy and Gameiro eh?
    Wait till Kenedy realises that Rafa will soon dissolve his little tricky play and Gameiro fares no better than Gayle.

    • Angelswithdirtyfaces

      Do you actually support the Toon ? Yer a constant stream of negativity.

      • ghostrider

        Absolutely love the club.
        Fan and supporter for 45 years.
        Constantly talking about the club in every possible way. Good bad and ugly. Truth’s fallacies and speculation.

        Positive, negative and impartial at times.
        As much as people spend all their time slagging Ashley and co off. I’ll slag off who I believe are the problems as is, not as was.

        Some think Ashley and co and I think Rafa and co.

        • Oldgeordie

          Get some time in sonny. Try 72 years of laughter, love, heartache and everything else that goes with supporting NUFC. Stop the slagging off of anyone and get behind the lads. If you think this lot are bad you can’t remember Seymour, Lord Westwood and Mc Keag. Try the 70s for garbage football. Mitten’s kittens. Now there’s a laughable team. of course Rafa has his faults – who doesn’t? I do think though he doesn’t tell the lies spouted by the owner. Keep the faith.

          • hetonmag

            Very very well said he hasn’t got a clue.

          • ghostrider

            You need to be telling that to the Ashley haters, not me.

        • TheFatController

          You place a lot of faith in a man put before a parliamentary committee for making money on the back of desperate people struggling financially in our worst recession ever…

          • ghostrider

            Yeah, what a monster eh. Nobody is worse than Ashley, right?

        • DavyB

          You think Rafa and co is the problem? Care to expand?

          • ghostrider

            The problem starts at the top.
            The TV mafia.
            Then the FA and FIFA and co.
            Then club owners bowing down to peer pressure to follow a trend.
            Which includes paying extortionate wages to managers who coax them into paying extortionate wages to players.

            My only problem with Rafa, after all of that is, he plays sickening football. It’s not enjoyable at all.
            Maybe 10% of a season where I can say I enjoyed the football.
            That’s not acceptable and that’s why he either bucks up and changes his silly stance or ships out.

            I demand a team that tries.
            That doesn’t mean a team that grafts.
            I demand a team that takes on the opposition and wins draws or loses, by it.

  • ghostrider

    I’ll hazard a guess that these players will be on the treatment table within 3 weeks.of them signing…assuming they do end up signing that is.

    I’d hope we could go for better.
    I hope we are going for better.

    Gameiro makes no sense and Kenedy is a 10 minute luxury in my opinion.

    • cmrowley

      Good Morning sunshine!!

      • ghostrider

        I’m a right depressing git aren’t I? lol

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Another Gimp ? hope not

    • Malcolm Fisher

      Chelsea don’t let good players go.

      • Oooh bobbi fleckman

        Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne

  • Rich Lawson

    Andy Carroll out for 3 months (and beyond !),surely an Ashley bargain buy ? Notice the new lad arrived by train,can’t even spring for a helicopter or plane fare now !